Menlo Park: Man sentenced to more than nine years in felony elder abuse case

A man convicted of felony elder abuse related to withholding medication and forging loans has been sentenced to nine years and four months in state prison, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

Darryl Keith Phillips, 52, had met a 66-year-old Menlo Park woman at a local pastry shop where she would go to knit and talk to people before meeting her son, who worked nearby, for lunch. He convinced the woman, who has dementia, to let him move into her home, Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan said.

The victim's daughters became concerned that Mr. Phillips was withholding her diabetes and blood pressure medication and reported him, according to investigators.

In August 2012, he refused to allow police and adult protective service representatives into the home. When police returned the following day with paramedics, the woman reportedly had "life threatening blood sugar and blood pressure levels," with severe mental impairment. She was hospitalized and survived.

Investigators said they found that Mr. Phillips had not bought insulin for many months, but had forged the woman's signature on $87,000 in loans; opened investment accounts in her name; and was preparing to take out a $150,000 loan on her house.

A jury found him guilty on May 13 of felony elder abuse, felony preparation of false evidence, and misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer, according to San Mateo County Superior Court records.

A registered sex offender, Mr. Phillips is registered on the California Megan's Law website for rape and other sexual assaults, two of which involved victims younger than 14 years old.

Judge Mark Forcum sentenced Mr. Phillips in the elder abuse case on Aug. 29 after ruling that the two prior convictions in 1984 would not count towards a "three strike" sentence enhancement based on the length of time passed and the nonviolent nature of the current offenses.

In addition to nine years in prison, the court required restitution and issued a 10-year "no contact" order with the victim.


2 people like this
Posted by Belle Haven Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Sep 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm

This (expletive deleted) picks on the young and the old. Too bad hanging is out of the question.

2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Menlo Voter is a registered user.

"nonviolent nature of these offenses"? Is this judge out of his ever loving mind (not to use profanity)? He nearly killed this woman and that's "nonviolent?" What planet does this [Portion removed; keep it civil.] live on? Given this guy's priors he should be going away for life. He's a proven predator.

2 people like this
Posted by Rich
a resident of another community
on Sep 4, 2014 at 12:05 am

If you really want to get irate, read Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15657(d)(2). A family member, like the daughter does not have legal standing to seek civil protection until her mother (the victim) dies, in case where law enforcement is not proactive, as is often the case. The legislators need to be woken up and told that elderly residents need civil protection while they are still living. It should not take too much intelligence to realize that once the elder is deceased, any civil protection is too late. Yet that is the current situation thanks to SB 183 (Corbett 2007).

2 people like this
Posted by Bewildered
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 4, 2014 at 8:32 am

I'm with Menlo Voter on this one. "Nonviolent nature" of the offenses? Is this judge nuts? This predator tried to kill a defenseless woman by withholding vital care. Can murder ever be nonviolent?

2 people like this
Posted by Justice for "Tom"
a resident of another community
on Sep 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

Yes, he’s a creep and deserves far worse. But SM County DA deserves no credit or kudos here. Some information from a similar case the DA refuses to prosecute since 2010 bears mentioning. In our case the paid caregiver is not being prosecuted despite reams of evidence documenting financial and physical abuse:

1. “Tom” was a quadriplegic and died 1 year following an accident under very odd circumstances in 2009. The financial and physical abuse he suffered was discovered by his family after he died.

2. “Tom’s” medical records prove the caregiver: (a) turned away nurses sent by his doctor to her house to provide care; (b) caused the “accidental dislodging” of his feeding tube but failed to seek medical help. That resulted in near-death and a long-term hospital stay (during which she claims “Tom” signed a Will and Trust leaving her everything he owned); and (c) failed repeatedly to follow medical instructions of “no thin liquids by mouth” which caused 3 separate hospitalizations for “aspiration pneumonia” and was the cause of Tom’s death.

3. The caregiver, at the time of Tom’s death, was on probation for two felony drug charges within the prior 12 months was being paid to provide Tom care by IHSS, a county paid and provided service (while at the same time stealing from Tom’s bank accounts) and illegally collecting CA unemployment at the same time.

4. The family last met with Melissa McGowan in late 2012 to beg her to prosecute this case and to deliver more copies of Tom's medical records and bank statements showing on- line transfers between “Tom’s” bank account to her caregiver's bank account.

We never heard from them, again.

The only reason the DA prosecuted this case… was easy and they only prosecute easy cases.

1. The victim was alive and could appear before a jury.
2. The defendant was a registered sex offender giving advantage to the the DA to argue criminal intent.
3. Sadly, the Judge who sentenced the defendant viewed withholding medication as a “non-violent” act is an unfortunate example of the failure of law enforcement to truly understand the nature of and crime of elder abuse.

FYI: There is little expectation of restitution in a civil/probate case. So sending her to jail is the only “restitution” available to our family and the only way to obtain Justice for "Tom". Wagstaffe and McGowan fail miserably and repeatedly at protecting the rights of the elderly and infirmed.....and the loved ones left behind.

We were victmized twice; once by the caregiver and then by the San Mateo County DA. Be prepared …you or your family might be next.

1 person likes this
Posted by RIP Joan Rivers
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm

To "Justice for 'Tom'"

Sounds like you got the same runaround from the DA and the police that so many of us have.

The reporter on this piece neglected to mention that there is still an ongoing civil suit against the police and the prosecutor on the Phillips case, in which they have been accused of lying:

Web Link=

1 person likes this
Posted by Carey
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 5, 2014 at 12:03 pm

I am the Broker for Yellow Dog Real Estate and I get a lot of elderly clients. I do need to know of elder advocates who are on the up and up. Who knows of really good advocates, please tell me. I have one client right now that needs some help... feel free to email me directly Much appreciated, Carey Mitchell

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